West Seattle, Washington
22 years after four Seattle firefighters died in the Mary Pang warehouse arson, the loss continues to loom large for SFD. The department’s Joint Training Facility in southeast West Seattle has a new memorial to the lost firefighters, thanks to a local Eagle Scout who officially presented it at a ceremony this afternoon.
Ben Beale is an 18-year-old O’Dea HS senior who is a member of West Seattle Troop 282. He and his troop were at the JTF this afternoon along with SFD Chief Harold Scoggins (with Ben in the photo above) and other SFD representatives, including firefighter Isaac Rivera, who introduced Ben and worked with him on the project, for which Seattle Fire Fighters Union IAFF Local 27 was also acknowledged:
Before the ceremony, we asked Ben how he first heard of the Pang arson tragedy, which happened years before he was born. He explained that his brother also had created a memorial which was on display at West Seattle’s Fire Station 32 (and will be returned when the new FS 32 is complete). He decided to make one for the JTF.
Along with a small-scale model of Hai Ying Wu‘s Occidental Square memorial sculpture, its materials include rock, rope, and rough-hewn wood, to show the challenging circumstances in which firefighters risk their lives. “Firefighters work hard, and find a way to get things done,” he noted.
Ben’s project will be permanently on display in the JTF administration building’s main hallway. While it’s not routinely open to the public, the building does host some public events (such as community meetings in the past year related to the nearby Myers Way Parcels), so look for it if you go to one.
Toward the end of the first day of the Washington Global Issues Network conference at Chief Sealth International High School, West Seattle climate activist Aji Piper, 16, took the stage as a keynoter.
The question he started with was simple: “How did I get involved in the environmental movement and why?”
The answers, complex. We recorded his almost-hour-long speech on video:
Piper spoke about his work, from early participation in Plant for the Planet, to being one of what are now 21 young plaintiffs suing the federal government over its failure to protect their rights to clean air and water.
“Climate change means life as we know it will change,” he declared. And he recounted some life-changing climate events that have rocked the globe already, from 314+ square miles of wildfire damage last year – “more than 152,000 football fields” – to storms like Hurricane Sandy.
“I thought about my home. What did this all mean for the people and places I love? What do I do with this knowledge? … I’m one person in a world of 7 billion people. What am I going to do about this?”
What he has done in the past several years started with planting trees to writing and performing protest songs with a ukulele, as he learned about new issues including oil trains and Arctic drilling. To challenge the latter, he wrote and performed a protest song, with his ukulele, at a Seattle Port Commission meeting (his slide for this featured a framegrab of WSB video from that 2015 meeting). And he joined in the “kayaktivism” off West Seattle’s shore as the Polar Pioneer drilling rig floated in.
He got involved with Earth Guardians.
And then there was the lawsuit, which, he said, hasn’t gone to trial yet, but has had several hearings. (He and his co-plaintiffs have had international publicity because of it.) They’re representing everyone in the U.S., he asserted, saying we all have rights to clean water and air, and “a livable future.”
WAGIN continues Saturday at Sealth, with the ~100 student attendees from all over the state spending the day in workshops and hearing from three more keynote speakers, including Seattle activist and mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver toward day’s end. This is the second time in three years that Sealth has hosted the conference.
Two recent Saturdays, you were invited to donate items at Hope Lutheran Church to help refugee families. Tonight, we have a wrapup and thank-you message from organizers:
A tremendous thank you to both our community and our congregation for the response to our collection of items for the Refugee Kits. We are happy to send the following items to Lutheran Community Services to aid in helping incoming refugee families:
8 personal care kits, 25 kitchen kits, 16 bathroom kits, 3 teapots, 12 blankets, 5 throws, 7 sets of sheets, one pillow, two crock pots, large box of extra kitchen items, large box of feminine products, large box of personal care items.
What a beautiful example of loving others as ourselves! Thank you!
Above are the West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA‘s current and future leaders – Josh Sutton and Shalimar Gonzales, photographed at the Y’s Triangle headquarters this morning. This announcement from the Y (a longtime WSB sponsor) explains:
The West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA will be changing executive leadership this spring, with Shalimar Gonzales coming over from the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA and Josh Sutton headed to the Bellevue Family YMCA.
These moves are part of a larger Seattle YMCA reorganization to ensure continued strong programs and services locally and success for our 2020 Opportunities for All Campaign, including the completed new Sammamish Y and the West Seattle Y’s expansion and renovation. A new Kent Y that will break ground in 2018 and the University Y are major projects still in the works, and Josh will also manage the construction for the Kent YMCA.
“It’s been an amazing time here and I’m so happy with all we’ve gotten done,” says Josh, “I’m thankful for the educational & youth programs we have established in schools, the support of the community as we raised over $4 million locally for our expansion and renovation- just fantastic. I’m especially pleased to have Shalimar here next – she’s a great Y leader for our West Seattle community.”
Shalimar brings nearly 15 years of Y leadership to her new role, most recently as the executive of the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA in the Central area of Seattle. “I’m excited to hit the ground running in West Seattle as the board, staff, and community continue to develop what it means to be a YMCA in the 21st century.”
The two executives began planning the transition earlier this month, along with the West Seattle & Fauntleroy Y Board. Josh will wrap up his work at the end of March, with Shalimar coming over in the following weeks.
Gary Potter, current Board Chair, shares: “We thank Josh for his steadfast and positive leadership throughout his many years here. Our Y is in a great position to serve the growing and changing needs of West Seattle because of his work. We’re excited to partner with Shalimar as we look forward to what the community needs next from our YMCA.”
Sutton has been leading the West Seattle Y since 2001, and working with the regional organization since the mid-’80s, preceded by years of Y membership and volunteering while growing up in our area.
Thanks to Kevin McMahan for the photos and report:
Scouts from West Seattle’s Troop 282 were working in the rain for seven hours today on a conservation service project at the Van Asselt Community Center. Their efforts count toward the prestigious 50 Miler Award which they are working toward. Special thanks to the Seattle Parks Department and Mr. Paul Smith for his mentorship.
The troop is in its seventh decade, according to its online history.
Got a little time to spare today for your community – something you can do right where you are right now? It’s the second-to-last day to nominate businesses/people for this year’s Westside Awards, presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, which sent this reminder:
West Seattle is home to many remarkable people and successful and innovative businesses with amazing stories. We need your input. Each year the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce looks to the West Seattle Community to nominate businesses and individuals for the annual Westside Awards. The recipients from past years listed below.
Westside Business of the Year
Westside Emerging Business of the Year
Westside Not-for-Profit of the Year
Westsider of the Year
Deadline for Nominations: March 6th
Your input is valuable because the number of votes is not the criteria for winning. Criteria includes how the candidate:
Demonstrates the highest standards
Promotes diversity, equality, and inclusiveness
Demonstrates a consistent commitment to environmental sustainability
Takes a leadership role in the community
There is always room for anything else you would like to share. On March 7th, your nominations and comments will be submitted to the selection committee and on May 4th the recipients will receive their award. Everyone is invited to attend!
For a few festive moments tonight, a milestone birthday celebration at OutWest Bar went outdoors for a flash mob! Sindy Todo was celebrating the big 6-5 – that’s Sindy above in gold, and below (note the cap – and the matching dresses!) with Dolly Madison, who performs at OutWest on Saturday nights:
And of course there was dancing:
Thanks to Jill for the tip, and happy birthday, Sindy!
Every small, family-owned business has a story. Recently, the one behind New Leaf Bistro in The Admiral District turned tragic. Less than a year and a half after opening the restaurant in the former Royal India Grill space, co-proprietors Geoffrey Ly and Shi Qiu Chen found out in December that Geoffrey had “a very aggressive cancer,” customer and friend Suzanne Krom writes. “His doctors started treatment but it quickly overwhelmed his system, and on January 29th, he died. He was only 55 years old.”
The couple has two young children, 10-year-old Angelina and 8-year-old Kelvin. Chen is now raising them alone and running the restaurant, a 17-hour-a-day job.
When Suzanne found out about Geoffrey’s death, she wanted to do something to help, something with which the community could help too. So today she launched a GoFundMe page. She writes that “the business and family are in jeopardy. Friends have rallied around her and customers who know about the loss of Geoffrey have been supportive too. But it’s not enough, which is why we have set up this GoFundMe page. Any donations of any size are welcome. We have a goal of $30,000 to help Shi Qiu pay for Geoffrey’s funeral costs. … Shi Qiu and her children will be eternally grateful for any help they receive. It will help make this tragedy something they can recover from. And it will feel like Geoffrey is indeed watching over them, making sure they are going to be okay.”
Mr. Ly’s West Seattle ties, by the way, went beyond New Leaf Bistro; as we reported when it opened, he also operated Hunan Express in Morgan Junction at the turn of the millennium. Again, if you’d like to help, the GoFundMe page is here.
In case you missed the announcement this week – the city has a new hotline you can use to report harassment, 206-233-7100. From the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) news release:
The Hotline is part of the City of Seattle’s Bias Hurts Campaign for Seattle residents and business owners who are the targets of discriminatory harassment, including threats, slurs, intimidation and cyberbullying.
“We’ve set up the hotline so people in Seattle can contact the Office for Civil Rights immediately if they are harassed or discriminated against,” said SOCR Director Patricia Lally. “But more important, we want to join with the community to develop actions that we can take to protect and support people over the long term. As a community, we need to take care of one another as much as we can.”
The campaign includes three key components: a hotline (206-233-7100) to report harassment, meetings with community groups from across the city to learn what people are experiencing and how the City can proactively address them, and a media campaign to publicize the City’s efforts. The media campaign will include print ads, social media, ads on buses and trains, radio and direct outreach to community groups.
SOCR is coordinating its actions with the Seattle Police Department, which enforces criminal laws against hate crimes, also known as malicious harassment. Anyone who experiences physical violence, property damage or threats should call 911 to report directly to the police. People should call SOCR’s hotline if they experience discriminatory harassment in housing, employment, or public places that does not rise to the level of a crime.
It is illegal in Seattle to harass someone based on race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and other protected groups. SOCR can investigate allegations of discriminatory harassment, issue findings and mandate remedies.
“I urge anyone who feels they’ve been harassed to call the Anti-Bias Hotline at 206-233-7100,” said Lally. “By supporting one another we can send a clear message: all of us are welcome in Seattle. That’s what the City of Seattle’s Anti-Bias Campaign is all about.”
Report discriminatory harassment to SOCR by calling 206-233-7100.
Report bias-related crime to Seattle Police by calling 911.
Visit the Seattle Police Department’s Bias/Hate Crime Data Dashboard.
According to the dashboard, the Southwest Precinct – West Seattle and South Park – has the lowest reported amount of such incidents so far this year: 1.
P.S. You can also file a complaint online by going here.
Chief Sealth International High School student Katherine Fry was honored at the Woodland Park Zoo‘s first-ever Thrive Leadership Awards dinner on Tuesday night. Not only did she receive the Youth Conservation Award, she also received a $5,000 scholarship. Fry was honored, the zoo says, “for contributing nearly 800 hours of volunteer service and providing leadership in the zoo’s youth programs including ZooCorps, Seattle Youth Climate Action Network, and Citizen Science Amphibian Monitoring.” She’s going to Western Washington University this fall, planning to study biology and environmental science.
“Awesome Avery” Berg, the West Seattle 11-year-old fighting a rare type of brain tumor, is now six months post-diagnosis and one month post-surgery. Her mom Kristie Berg is continuing to publish updates online. And she e-mailed us the other day with not only an update on Avery, but also because she wants to make sure you know about an upcoming soccer match with part of the proceeds going to pediatric brain-tumor research in Avery’s honor: It’s on Wednesday at Memorial Stadium downtown, a “testimonial match” honoring newly retired Seattle Sounders FC veteran Zach Scott, who lives in West Seattle.
If you’re not familiar with the “testimonial match” concept, the original announcement from Sounders FC – co-hosting the match with Emerald City Supporters – includes this:
… Testimonials are a long-standing tradition in soccer culture, particularly in the United Kingdom and South America. These special matches are held to honor a particular player for his or her service to the club.
The Zach Scott Testimonial Match is taking place at Memorial Stadium (401 5th Avenue N.), the home of the Seattle Sounders in 1974-1975 and 1997-2002. With teams coached by fellow Sounders FC originals Osvaldo Alonso and Brad Evans, the match is set to feature teammates and friends across all 15 years of Scott’s career in Seattle, including Kasey Keller, Roger Levesque and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, among others. …
(Here’s who else is set to play.) Scott was known during his career for giving tirelessly to local causes, as noted in our September story about his retirement announcement. Proceeds from tickets to the 7 pm match will benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, the RAVE Foundation, and a college fund for Scott’s three children. Scott published a post online this week about why he chose the PBTF, explaining that he and his family are longtime friends of the Berg family:
… The Berg family, ever faithful, decided to pour all their time and resources into not only the care of their daughter, but in bringing awareness to the incredible lack of funding and resources given to pediatric brain tumor research. The community rallied around the Berg family and with the help of The Run of Hope, raised over $150,000 in a few short weeks in an attempt to do so. All of that money was given directly to Seattle Children’s Hospital for research and clinical trials for pediatric brain tumors.
However, that is not enough. Pediatric Cancer currently receives only 4% of the national budget spent on cancer research and development. On March 1, I will lace up my boots one last time with several of my friends in an attempt to further these efforts. Seattle has always shown me and my family such love. I urge you to do something amazing and continue to support families that face these devastating realities. It could be any of us. As Avery would say, “You are the difference makers.” A portion of proceeds from ticket sales as well as all the in-match auction proceeds will go to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund run by Seattle Children’s Hospital.
You can get your tickets to the match by going here. Meantime, in addition to her ongoing online updates (the most recent one is here), Avery’s mom tells WSB, “Avery is still fighting and has three more months of awful chemo, but she is doing very well considering. She had a downright miraculous surgery in January where they were able to remove 100% of her tumor. It’s a long, awful road, but we are doing our best and will continue to fight to support pediatric cancer research and advancement.”
We’ve shared updates before from local Girl Scout Alina Guyon, who is working on a Gold Award project to build a library for refugees in Uganda. West Seattleites have donated more than 1,000 books, and now she’s sharing words of gratitude for another big donation:
Thank you Alki Lumber!
When you heard that I was building a library for refugees in Uganda, you generously offered to help. The library project not only involves sending books by container, but I’m also building an actual library. Alki Lumber donated all kinds of paint and materials to help complete the structure. Thank you for being such a generous business and key part of our West Seattle Community.
There are currently more refugees in the world than any time since World War II. While we can’t easily affect our nation’s immigration policies, this is a small way our community can make a difference to people forcibly displaced from their homes. I am so amazed by the outpouring of support from West Seattle.
Thanks to Jen Calleja for the tip – multiple White Center businesses are closed today for the Day Without Immigrants protest against the federal crackdown on immigrants. We stopped by some of the businesses she mentioned – above, the sign at Greenbridge Café; below, the signs at Salvadorean Bakery and Best Roasted Corn:
And Jen sent this collage of other businesses she found closed, including Deli Garcia in South Delridge:
We haven’t seen/heard of any other West Seattle closures – if you have, please let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-293-6302.
Meantime, there’s news about the court fight over the presidential order on immigration – according to a news release from state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, saying a federal appeals court was notified that “the President intends in the near future to rescind the Order and replace it with a new, substantially revised Executive Order” to eliminate constitutional concerns. Ferguson’s reaction: “Let’s be clear: Today’s court filing by the federal government recognizes the obvious — the President’s current Executive Order violates the Constitution.”
You’re invited to nominate somebody – and/or someplace – for this year’s Westside Awards, to be presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce on May 4th.
The categories again this year are:
Westside Business of the Year
Westside Emerging Business of the Year
Westside Not-for-Profit of the Year
Westsider of the Year
The nomination form is online, here. It includes more information on the criteria for each category. Nominees do NOT have to be WS Chamber members, nor do those sending in nomination(s). You can see who’s won in recent years by going here. Nominate someone/someplace (yes, you can send in multiple nominations) by March 6th!
By Cliff Cawthon
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Neighborhood House’s High Point Center is a place where neighbors gather almost every day of the year.
But Saturday afternoon had something extra – a Neighbor Day gathering with an emphasis on welcoming and celebrating the neighborhood’s immigrant communities amid the Trump Administration’s attempts at what’s being called the “Muslim Ban.”
“A lot of people who we work with could be affected by the immigrant ban,” explained Megan Demeroutis, Neighborhood House’s Family Resource Center supervisor. Demeroutis said that the potluck’s international flavor and the activities were meant to bring people together in the mixed-income Seattle Housing Authority– managed community. Read More
Not only is West Seattle Office Junction (WSB sponsor) a place to cowork – it’s also a place to connect with your neighbors, especially today! Until 2 pm, in honor of Neighbor Day, several local groups/organizations have reps there to answer your questions – including West Seattle Time Bank, Plant for the Planet – Washington State, Urban Homestead Foundation, Terraganics Living, Seattle Farm School, West Seattle Bee Garden, West Seattle Food Bank, The Community General Store, and Backyard Barter.
Stop in (6040 California SW), have a cup of coffee, and find out how to get more connected within the West Seattle community.
WSB photos and video by Leda Costa
At 7 tonight, the moment that the mayor suggested people stand outside to #ShineALight showing support for immigrants and refugees, Hate-Free Delridge gathered on the Delridge pedestrian overpass.
WSB photojournalist Leda Costa reports about 30 people turned out and were greeted with honks from many passing vehicles during their gathering on the overpass.
Hate-Free Delridge is the community group formed last summer following a hate crime targeting a Pigeon Point family.
These photos just arrived in the WSB inbox, with this explanation: “Happening now, letter-writing campaign at Admiral Bird! Come down, write letters, meet cool people until 10 pm.” They’re writing to not only the White House but also other elected officials in D.C.
Admiral Bird is on the southeast corner of California/Admiral Way.
Though the big rallies have been outside West Seattle so far, two citywide events to show support for immigrants and refugees are planned later this week, and you can participate here on the peninsula.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: At 7 pm Wednesday (February 1st), you’re invited to step outside, wherever you are, and shine a light – “a candle, a smartphone, a lamp, a flashlight” – as per this invitation from the mayor.
FRIDAY MORNING: Before school, at as many local schools that choose to participate, grassroots support rallies are planned. We first heard about it from Louisa Boren STEM K-8 parent Shawna Murphy, who says families “will be out front, participating in the city wide show of support for our diverse families and Immigrant communities this Friday, February 3, from 9:15-9:35.” If your school is planning an event too, please let us know – email@example.com – thanks!
Suzanne sent the photos, saying she encountered this 6-year-old girl and her grandmother at Constellation Park today: “She was with her mom last Saturday in the Womxn’s March, carrying a sign she filled with messages of love, and continues to be inspired to do all she can to sustain it, her grandmother said.”
So if you saw, or see, the messages (which also included “Let Freedom Ring”) … now you know.
7:18 PM: The video is from King County Council Chair Joe McDermott at Sea-Tac Airport, one of multiple U.S. airports where demonstrators rallied today/tonight in opposition to the presidential order detaining people of certain nationalities even though they have visas. He reports seeing another West Seattleite among the demonstrators, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. The American Civil Liberties Union went to court and reports that a temporary injunction has been granted. Also at the airport with demonstrators, area U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal (whose district includes West Seattle) and Suzan DelBene, and Gov. Jay Inslee:
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 29, 2017
ADDED 7:35 PM: Thanks to Keri Watson for sending this photo from Sea-Tac, where she has seen other West Seattleites participating and says the demonstration in the arrival hall is expected to continue until 10 pm:
Anyone else there – firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
ADDED 9:31 PM: We don’t know if any of the people affected by the airport detentions are from, or related to anyone from, our area, but we did want to add one line from a media dispatch from Congressmember Jayapal’s office: “Family members of anyone detained at the airport should contact the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project at email@example.com for assistance.”
ADDED SUNDAY: Thanks to Lauren for two more photos from the Saturday demonstration.
Our state’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson has joined 14 others around the country in vowing to fight the ban:
As the chief legal officers for over 130 million Americans and foreign residents of our states, we condemn President Trump’s unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful Executive Order and will work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith.
Religious liberty has been, and always will be, a bedrock principle of our country, and no president can change that truth.
Yesterday, multiple federal courts ordered a stay of the Administration’s dangerous Executive Order. We applaud those decisions and will use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order and preserve our nation’s national security and core values.
We are confident that the Executive Order will ultimately be struck down by the courts. In the meantime, we are committed to working to ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created.
Meantime, opponents of the immigration-related order have announced another Seattle protest, 5 pm tonight at Westlake Park downtown.
You might remember Mr. Walsh, 76, best for the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle. (The Municipal Archives photo above shows Mr. Walsh at right, with Rev. Jesse Jackson at the podium.) It was the second staging of the international competition hatched by cable-TV entrepreneur Ted Turner as an alternative to the Olympic Games, which had gone through multiple superpower boycotts by then. Before then, as noted in The Times’ report (and this 1990 profile), Mr. Walsh was known for basketball involvement including three years as an executive with the Sonics and promotion of big NCAA, WNBA, and NBA playoff events, and he since has had extensive nonprofit involvement. Sportspress Northwest has an extensive obituary, reporting that Mr. Walsh became ill while visiting the former Soviet republic of Georgia and died in a hospital in Turkey.